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Tibia spiral fracture ? (Page 1)

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I have a 2 brake tibia sprial fracture 3 weeks ago. I also broke the other bone in my leg and have a rod and pins holding my tibia together. How long can I expect to have this terrible pain in the leg? It is horrible and my dr. just doesn't seen to believe I have this much pain.
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First Helper User Profile Gaelic
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replied August 15th, 2009
Community Volunteer
This is a rough break...I am assuming you are in a cast...This will take a while to heal and I know well of the pain you are in...My Mother did this years ago...The best thing I can tell you is to just hang in there...Be patient...Let it heal and try not to let it get you down...

Good luck and hope that someone else will be able to give you a better time frame for the healing of your injury...

Take care,
Caroline
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replied August 22nd, 2009
My son broke his tibia I think in the same manner.He had a rod put in.It has been about 9 weeks and he is running now.Although everything looks good it still swells badly and hurts to the point that he limps.The swelling looks as bad as the day of the break.Does anyone know of any exercises that can help strengthen his leg.How long does the pain last.
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replied September 24th, 2009
I am a 38 year old male and I suffered a spiral fracture of my mid to distal tibia in a MX crash early Sept.2009 and it was repaired surgically with an IM ROD (in the bone) and 5 screws. VERY PAINFUL for the first week. It's been 18 days and the swelling, pain, and mobility have improved a lot with icing and keeping it elevated; however, this type of fracture can take a long time to heal fully. I also fractured and sprained my ankle. I was given strict directions of NO weight bearing for a minimum of 6 weeks, then start VERY SLOWLY. Can take up to 3 MONTHS to achieve a 80%
heal...so don't rush it. ie NO running at 9 weeks...you will just go backwards! Best advice is be patient and listen to the Dr. and Physio! For example, I am taking 6 weeks off work, doing Physio and I want to start into playing hockey and riding my sled by 2010. At approx 3+1/2 months, this is realistic , starting out slow of course. Haste makes waste. As far as the pain goes, I had my collarbone plated 2 years ago, and the the pain and sensitivity can last up to a year or longer, of course gradually subsiding more and more with time. Realize it will never be the same. Good luck to you all.
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replied October 1st, 2009
spiral fracture repaired with plate and pins
Hi a reply from a bit further down the healing line, I had accident on 28 Dec 2008, severe spiral fracture to right tibia and damage to ankle on same leg. As a result of which I now have 2 large screws through ankle and a plate and 12 pins/scews holding the tibia back togther. I was in full leg cast for 3 weeks, then transferred into a 1/2 leg 'Aircast powawalker' boot which is proven to aid/speed recovery. The severe pain lasted for around 6 weeks (had a morphine based pain killer v good) then about 1 - 2 weeks on just paracetomol, nothing needed since. I was none weight bearing for 1st 6 weeks then, was told boot would be on for another 6 weeks to progress to partial weightbearing, physio said I was ready to have boot off at 10 weeks rather than 12. Very scary & very painful standing back on your own leg after that amount of time, but hang in there and do everything your physio tells you to do, no matter how painful or tedious it is worht it in the long run. I was originally told would need physion riught upto Oct/Nov this year, but in end was fully signed off from physion on 2nd June. Driving normally comes at 16 weeks but I was back behind the wheel at 13. Now almost exactly 9 months to the day since I had the accident, there is virtually no pain unless I knock or jarr the leg, there is some slight swelling to the ankle somedays, high heels are still out of the question, stairs are do able but slow progress. Main advise hang in there, scream, shout, cry, laugh etc whenever you feel the urge (it helps) but most the most important person in your life will become your physio guy, if you listen and do as you are advised the sooner you will get your life back. GOOD LUCK!
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replied November 29th, 2009
i'm 13 and broke my tiba and fiba and it hurts realy bad it was at wreasling practis at school. all of my weight and my firends fell on my leg and about 2 weeks later i have a BIG blue cast on from mid thi and so how long will it take to heal???
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replied November 30th, 2009
Community Volunteer
Hi Tyler13157....Get well soon and be careful at wrestling practice!!....The doctor should be able to tell you how long you will be in a cast...It will then be up to you to work on the therapy...Take it slow and don't expect to get out of the cast and run...It will be sore and take time...Good luck..........

Caroline
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replied March 18th, 2010
BROKEN TIBIA.
Hi my name is Ray i broke my left tibia just below my knee on my mx bike it was a very bad brake & taking a long time to heal i now have a big plate & 6 screws the first 2 weeks the pain was very bad morphine based meds helped a lot in that time now 10 weeks post opp some good physio & rest im walking at 85-90% & riding my push bike which has helped a lot,i go back to see dr in 2 weeks for check up & hope to go back to work after that,best advice i can give is go to physio & take it slow & easy after all the tibia is the main bone in your leg. all the best !!!!!!! RAY.
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replied June 6th, 2010
I went into the hospital for a fulkerson osteostomy procedure. It was suppose to be an overnight stay. Next day, physcial therapy came by asked me to move a certain way and the next thing I knew I was on the floor. I shattered the top of my tibia and broke it in three places. I've never experience any pain like this before. It's been about 9 weeks and I've feel like I've been thru hell! All I get is take it easy! And all promises from my dr that it will get better!
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replied October 21st, 2010
Broken Tib/fib. Info that might help others
I broke my tib/fib right in the middle, it was a compound fracture, which they say takes the longest to heal. It is very hard to say how long it will take anyone to heal as all the brakes are different. The more storys you read, the more disappointed you will be dependin on the site. I have been reading it takes people anywhere from 3 months to 16 months.

I was in a hard cast for 5 weeks and am now wearing an air cast also known as the walking boot. It helps u learn how to walk again without causing damage to your leg. I have been on it for a week, it is not as easy as I thought it would be. My physical thearipist is saying 2 weeks with the boot and then we can try with out it.

I do agree with everyones comments about taking it slow, but I also agree that u need to be doing something, your excersices and trying alittle everyday. the more you work on it the faster it will heal. I'm not saying take th cast off and start running just do a little everyday.

As for the pain. I agree it was the worst pain of my life, and I have had 2 children. after 2 weeks I was still in a great deal of pain and was taking the max amount of pain pills I could. Then decided to ween myself off. I found alot of the pain may have been in my head, as the pain never got worse with the less amount of pills I was taking. I finally after 3 weeks went off all pain meds and after 3 days of massive migranes from the withdrawls, found the pain wasn't as bad as I thought. I do still take a extra strenght advil every once and awhile before bed if I am in alot of pain. One thing you should know is that your bones will take longer to heal, the longer you are on pain meds. So don't cause yourself to go through excrussiating pain, but just try and take less and less everyday until it is barrable. Think positively and tell yourself, this doesn't hurt. I know it sounds cheesy but, it works

Another thing I have just learned is that, until you are doing minor weight bearing you will not see much or any bone regrowth, your body needs the activity in the leg to get the blood flow working and start the healing process. Your Tibia, has the work circulation in it, so without movement it is just gettig worse. Also why everyone is still swollen, after so long.

Also try to eat a calcium rich diet. calcium pills are very hard for your body to digest so eating almonds, spinich, oranges, apples, skim milk, yogurt, and so much more, will actually help you heal faster. check of foods to help your bones heal. and stick to it.

I know this is alot of info, but I really hope it will help some of you. Goodluck in your recovery:)
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replied November 10th, 2010
Recovery time
I am surprised by the different Dr orders. I have a broken fibia, tibia and a crack in the ankle. I had the rod inserted was in the hospital 5 days and 7 days in a rebab hospital before going home. My Dr said 12 weeks till recovery. At 13 weeks I am just now getting off crutches. I haven't taken hardly any pain medication after two weeks at home.
I have done physical therapy and done everything they said to do. Saw the Dr yesterday my tibia is healed my fibula is almost healed. The Dr wonders why I am not back to work and said he didn't understand why I was on crutches still. I only began taking steps 5 days before and I feel that I have made really good progress. I am 57 but very active my job is physically demanding a lot of lifting so I am in good shape for my age. If it wasn't so close to signing me off I would fire him and get another Dr. I don't think my recovery time is out of the normal. I told him the knee has slowed me down I couldn't bend it and couldn't put any weight on it for the first two months where they inserted the rod, he said that I must have had another problem with the knee before!!! I have never had any problems with the knee. Thank you for your stories they keep me sane. And NO this is not a workmen't compensation injury I don't work I don't get paid. He sure knew how to get my spirits down even though I know I have done all I could do at the time. My physical therapist is happy with my progress. I think I will be ready for work in about 3 weeks maybe 4 if I can get the swelling down in the foot. Thats what I hope anyway I am not walking yet just short trips part of the day. It's a long road and I am happy I have not had any complications or a lot of pain.
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replied March 29th, 2011
Broken Tibia & PT
I had a 4wheeler accident feb 20. The Dr told me I had a spiral break of my lower tibia, a spiral fracture of my upper fibula, and another hairline fracture and that I had to have surgery. They did the surgery on Feb 21 in which they put in an IM Rod and screws and released me to go home Feb 22nd. I'm going on 6 weeks since the accident/surgery. I have a Dr appt next Tuesday(5th) and I'm hoping they take this cast off and I can go ahead and start PT ( NOT holding my breathe!!) Any input as to what to expect in PT would be GREATLY appreciated. Really scared to try and stand on this for the first time because I have no clue what to expect.
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replied January 15th, 2012
Hi,
I was skiing and had a spiral fracture to both Tibia and Fibula. Inserted a rod from just below my knee to just above my ankle down my tibia. They set the fibula and said it would heal on its own. Originally I was told it would be 4-6 weeks before I could put ANY weight on my leg. Going on 4 weeks since surgery tomorrow and a follow up Ortho apt day after. Hoping to get into some type of walking boot but my PT says total recovery time is 12-16 weeks. Best thing I can tell you is start PT as soon as possible and do EXACTLY what they say. I can't believe how quickly the muscles go into atrophy! My broken leg is now half the size it used to be before the accident. I was able to get off pain meds around week 3, but now back on them as needed (1-3/day) because of calf pain. Since I'm not using it the muscle cramps and gets balled up easily. Constant stretching and massaging help a little but looks like time is the only thing that will help! Good luck to everyone and no matter what happens; just do what the PT and DR say! Remember they actually went to school for this! Rushing or cutting corners will only result in permanent damage.
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replied January 16th, 2012
Especially eHealthy
skiingaccident,

When your PT stated that it would take 12 to 16 weeks for total recovery, that was just the time for the bone to unite. That does not take into account the time for the soft tissues to heal and be rehabilitated. The following time frames are just for time to bony union:

Time to Union;
- low energy fractures: 10-13 weeks;
- high energy fractures: 13-20 weeks;
- open fractures: 16-26 weeks
---- type 3B & 3C open fractures requires 30 to 50 weeks for consolidation;
- distal tibial fractures may be more prone to non union than proximal fractures due to absence of muscular soft tissue envelope;
- in the report by Anne Skoog et al., the authors studied 64 consecutive patients with a tibial shaft fracture; ---> 12 months after the injury, 44 percent had not regained full function of the injured leg, although all but two of the patients had returned to preinjury working status;
---- references: "One-Year Outcome After Tibial Shaft Fractures: Results of a Prospective Fracture Registry" A. Skoog. J Orthop Trauma 15(3):210-215, March/April, 2001.


It often takes a lot longer for the soft tissues to be rehabilitated than it does to get the bone to unite. So it is not uncommon for it to take as much as a year to 18 months for full recovery from a tibial shaft fracture. Usually, the surgeon will allow the patient to begin working on ankle range of motion, before allowing weight bearing. As to when weight bearing is allowed, depends upon the character of the fracture, is it a stable construct. Also, can the IM nail withstand the stress applied to it, if the bone construct cannot take the majority of the stress. IM nails can bend and break, if stresses too many times.

But, once you are allowed to start bearing weight, then you will be able to start working on regaining muscle mass and strength. If you were able to do ROM before this, it will really help when you begin ambulating.

Once you have ROM and strength built back up, then you have to work on balance, agility, and proprioception. Then come the sport specific skills.

So, you can see why it often takes quite a while to fully recover from a tibia fracture. Some patients can and do get back a little faster, but they are usually professional or collegiate athletes who have full time staffs to help with their rehabilitation needs.

Sounds like you are motivated to get back and that is probably the most important aspect in recovery. As you stated, listen to the surgeon and therapists. Do what they suggest. Some stress across the fracture site is good, as it stimulates the bone to lay down more callus (Wolff's Law). But, too much stress, too soon, can cause the fracture and hardware to fail. So, again, follow your surgeon's instructions.


Work hard in PT, eat a good diet high in protein, calcium, vitamin D, do not smoke or use smokeless tobacco, and you should be up and about with a healed tibia fracture in a few months.

Good luck.
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replied April 22nd, 2012
Hi
I'm 14 and recently fractured my right tibia just above the ankle. I was told it was a spiral fracture and that i would have to have manipulation surgery on it. Afterwards, my foot hurt a lot (nobody was sure why) but after a week of taking codeine, paracetamol and nurofen the pain has stopped. My main hobby is a sport called freestyle scooter riding, which i did every day before the injury. I take it quite seriously and I was wondering how long it should take before i can ride again. It's a skatepark sport and i was worried that if i went back to soon the bone would brake again. Any advice on the healing time/anybody who had the same problem? Thanks
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replied June 20th, 2012
Spiral Fx with IM Rod
I am 54y F and on April 8th I was in a motorcycle accident(passenger). I have a right tibial spiral fracture and right fibia fracture. I have an IM Rod and 4 screws. I was released from the hospital to home on April 12. By April 20 my foot was as big as my head. The pain was excruciating, especially when lowering my foot to the floor. I was readmitted with an infection/cellulitis. I was discharged again on April25. A two week setback. I am now 10wks post op, toe touch weight bearing. Still too weak to stand on my right leg. I was given work disability until september 10. Dr. Told me from the beginning I could hope to be on a cane by Sept. I am hoping to be released to outpatient PT next week..to date have had in home PT. Based on my Drs orders and what I have read, I am right on track with healing. I do have one of my top screws protruding out against my skin; I don't think this is norm at this stage but it is what it is. No more m/cycle rides for me. Good luck to everyone healing....rest, proteins, patience will heal us all.
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replied July 19th, 2012
I fractured my tibia in may 2011 and had 10 pins and a metal plate put in my leg, to my astonishment I never had a cast I was given crutches and told to be none bearing.14 months later it still hasn't healed correctly and isn't fully united, does this generally happen and im unlucky in the healing process.
Teresa
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replied October 26th, 2012
Keane
I'm a 20 year old boy, got both tibia and fibula spiral fractured during a motor crash. That happened 3 months ago, and I have undergone 2 surgeries. The first surgery was to put a rod inside, but then I got infected and had to take another surgery one month later to take the rod out and immobilize my leg with an external fixation. Following the treatment process, I will have it removed next month and have my leg put in a cast... I know it will take a long time to heal, but I just don't wanna do any surgery again, because it's quite painful and with percents of risk of infection.
(A research has shown that 15/19 cases healed by 30 weeks, the 4 remaining cases ended up with surgery).
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replied October 26th, 2012
Especially eHealthy
crz_keane,


Sorry about your accident.

The usual times to union for tibial shaft fracture are as follows (no matter how they are treated):

TIME TO UNION
- low energy fractures: 10-13 weeks;
- high energy fractures: 13-20 weeks;
- open fractures:
- type 1, 2, 3a: 16-26 weeks
- type 3B & 3C: can require 30 to 50 weeks for consolidation;
- distal tibial fractures may be more prone to non union than proximal fractures due to absence of muscular soft tissue envelope;
- in the report by Skoog A, et al., the authors studied 64 consecutive patients with a tibial shaft fracture;
- 12 months after the injury, 44 percent had not regained full function of the injured leg, although all but two of the patients had returned to preinjury working status;
- reference: One-Year Outcome After Tibial Shaft Fractures: Results of a Prospective Fracture Registry


So, as long as the infection is under control, there should be no reason for you to not go into a cast once the Ex Fix comes off. Then it is just a matter of following your surgeon’s instructions, eating right, not smoking.


The times above are only for union of the bone, they do not include the time it takes for rehabilitation. So, it is not uncommon for patients to take many months, even more than a year to fully recover than a significant tibial fracture.


Good luck.
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replied January 8th, 2013
Im 14 and I had a spiral fracture aound my left tibia. It had been cracked in two places. The doctors had manipulated it and had putted a cast around it to heal, but they did not do any surgery on it, like using plates or screws. In two weeks and two days i will go back to the hospital for it to be x-rayed. I just wanted to ask if any surgery would be needed after the inspection and how long it would normally take for it to heal. Also once in a while I would hear a tiny click coming from my leg. There is no pain, but is that a problem. Thanks to anyone who replies to the message because I have been anxious to know how my leg would end up and if it would get better.
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